2018-08-08 / Front Page

On the Road in Greece: Social Issues Highlighted in Arcadian Teachers’ Production

By Catherine Tsounis

"The Respite Home: The Happy West" at the Malliaropoulios Theater,
"The Respite Home: The Happy West" at the Malliaropoulios Theater, “Athens has more Old Age Homes than schools.” Biting lines on 2018 life in a play produced by The Theatrical Group of the Primary Education Teachers Arcadia. In June 2018, they performed Manolis Korres "The Respite Home: The Happy West" at the Malliaropoulios Theater, in Tripoli, Arcadia, Greece. The theatrical group put their hearts into this performance in the mountains of the Peloponnese. Excellent actors, professional staging and donors from the business community made it a production to remember.

Another satirical line  was a senior reading the newspaper and saying: “Two priests had a fist fight in a cemetery at a funeral.” The story line opens showing how life is perfect at the Nursing Home “The Happy West”. A Bingo TV show will be filmed by the management and staff of the Foundation. Members of The Nursing Home were supposed to be interviewed and explain how life is great at the end of their lives in this facility. During the filming of the show, the horrible reality, the agonizing everyday life of the elderly experiencing the abandonment, is revealed. At the same time, in this inhospitable environment, a loving romance is knit between two of the tormented members.

The dark play is an indictment of the current social scene. One senior citizen had his property seized by his children who put him away in “The Happy West” substandard Nursing Home. He escaped with his love, another Senior, with the help of the staff and his attorney. The villains were his children the Center’s Administrators and the government that allows such homes to operate. Does this sound familiar? Each year, with the end of the school year, the Arcadia Theater Teachers' Theater team, has been very successful.

The theater was filled with an enthusiastic audience. We were the guests of Professor Spiro and Evangelia Vardouniotis. They perform in different cities, presenting their creative skills.  The highlight of our trip to Tripoli is seeing their comedies, fairy tales and serious dramas. Their performances should be on u-tube for the Greek Diaspora to enjoy.

The performers include: George Kazantzidis; Vasilis Chronopoulos; Yiota Karydis; Bessie Petropoulou-Leivaditi; Spiros Vardouniotis; Panos Iliopoulos; Christina Arvaniti; Anna Zaferopoulou; Evi Kagiouli;  Yianna Vemi; Dimitris Simniotis; Thanasis Mpournas; Christos Karnezis; Natasa Nikolopoulou; Kostas Skorpidas, Nagia Karida; Yiota Dourida and Evaggelia Vardouniotis and others. The production and public relations staff are Frose Hatzopoulou, Fani Ziazias, Vasilis Nastos, Melina Hatzopoulou, Takis Roumeliotis, Anna Mpramou, Anna Mpeta, Maria Syriou, Eleni Koutou, Evagelia Marini and Nikos Salapatas. All information was taken from the program.

The Theatrical Group has participated from 2003-2016 in some of the following "The Respite Home: The Happy West" at the Malliaropoulios Theater.
"The Respite Home: The Happy West" at the Malliaropoulios Theater. works: “Youth for a Dime,” As. Gialamas-K. Prenteteris: “Looking for a Liar,” D. Psathas; “The Woman Cardplayer,” D. Psathas;  The Seagull Brings Babies,” M.  Repas, 2 years; “A Crazy, Crazy 50 Year Old Woman,” A. Sakellarios; “Dust in the Eyes,” E. Lamp is;  “The Dream of the Scarecrow” E. Trivia, 2 years; “The Magical Pillows,” E. Trivia; “Odyssevach” X. Kalogeropoulou; and “To Slavia” (The Son of a Slave),” X. Kalogeropoulou.

Special acknowledgement is expressed to The City of Tripoli for their donation of the Malliaropoulios Theatre, Christina Sarantopoulou, Vasili Mpita; EAS REGION Athletics Federation Peloponnese, Acadia 93.8, Arcadiaportal.gr and www.arcadiasports.gr.

Manolis Korres His Theatrical Works: "Give Me Your Wife", "Life in the province", "Retirement home", "The adjoining bed", "The loft", "What to do with the old man", "Dangerous play" , "The Odeon", "Lumbago", "The Midas has donkey ears", "Aischos", "Occupation", "The experiment". The series "The opposite shore" ET-1 (1990), "Love For Sale" ET-1 (1992). "Christmas in Thymonia", "The Prize of Paradise", "The Trap", "Without Identity", "Dead End" and others. His works have been translated into English, Russian, Turkish, French, Bulgarian, Flemish and have been performed in scenes from Cyprus, the Soviet Union, Istanbul, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, the Netherlands.. He has written over 300 short stories. His novels "Fyles 380b", "Kastanioti" (1996), and the hymns "My Keratsa", published by Rodakio (1997).1

An interview with actor/retired Prof. Spiros Vardouniotis revealed the frustrations of seniors over their pension cuts. “How will I help my family today?,” he explained. “Everyone planned for their pensions. Gas, food goes up. Pensions go down. Today you sleep. Tomorrow you wake up and are told you must give up 50 percent of your pension. Persons can not pay for loans because pensions are down. We believe easily in lies and voted for current government. We, the pensioners lost the honor of being grandparents. I spent 42 years paying social security and have seen my pension cut over fifty percent.”

Prof. Vardouniotis, who is an openminded scholar believes “Americans have another culture. Mixed marriages bring changes to the Greek Orthodox Church and must become autocephalous. The liturgy must be in the language of the people. Language is not important. The Bible has meanings that transcend language.
 
References:
1.     https://www.rizospastis.gr/story.do?id=3714522 - obituary

http://www.ert.gr/perifereiakoi-stathmoi/tripoli/sto-sanidi-oi-daskaloi-...


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